This is the kitchen where we talk about food, life, and recovery—a spiritual path to healing and peace.

You are invited to keep coming back to A Cup of Kindness to share your experience, strength and hope; fears, doubts and insecurities; and to pick up information, inspiration … and have a little fun!

My story
In January 2007, at the age of 51, I joined a 12-step program and began my recovery from food addiction, losing 75 pounds in the process. Read more…

In January 2011, at the age of 55, I began my recovery from a multi-trauma accident, 36 fractures, damaged lungs, and post traumatic stress. Read more…

I am deeply grateful for all the kindnesses, large and small, offered to me in recovery. Here I am... alive… still making progress … still not perfect … finding a new way forward in a growing community of women and men who share a lot in common around food and life.

I hope you'll join me in this kitchen and let me know what's cooking with you.

A Cup of Kindness

Open Heart Project


Our shared poverty

MG 4135 March 2


Day 66 of continuing recovery

This morning I took a meandering path through the internet from one beautiful gate to the next.

My unexpected destination was a quote from the Dutch-born spiritual teacher Henri Nouwen. He wrote, “Community is not a talent show in which we dazzle the world with our combined gifts. Community is the place where our shared poverty is acknowledged and accepted, not as something we have to learn to cope with as best as we can but as a true source of new life.”

This beautiful Nouwen quote was introduced to me by writer, speaker, teacher Patti Digh. She responds, “Yes… community is a structure of belonging.”

Patti Digh was introduced to me by Susan Piver through her Open Heart Project, a free virtual meditation sangha. Susan is a gifted teacher. Her meditation videos are truly helpful.

Back to Henri Nouwen and community as “the place where our shared poverty is acknowledged and accepted, not as something we have to learn to cope with as best as we can but as a true source of new life.” Isn’t this is a great description of the 12-step fellowships?

I share food addiction in common with my 12-step fellows. It’s that shared flaw which becomes the source of love, recovery, peace, healing, generosity, and new life for us all. Amazing. I am ever grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love & Light,


Image: http://christojeanneclaude.net/projects/the-gates 

8 Comments to Our shared poverty

  1. Virginia Styer's Gravatar Virginia Styer
    November 21, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Happy Thanksgiving, Valerie! I am grateful for A Cup of Kindness. Thank you for sharing your insights and wisdom with so many of us who accompany you on this amazing journey of life, together. Love, Ginny

  2. Myra TAte's Gravatar Myra TAte
    November 21, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful way to look at a “shared flaw”.

  3. November 23, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Hi Valerie!

    So great to reconnect with you on Tuesday.

    Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite spiritual writers. One of his insights that really helped me is about true humility: he says it resides not in our relationships to other people but rather in our relationship to a Higher Power. This helped me with my “less than” default reaction in relation to others, which sometimes gets in the way of feeling a part of my community.

    Looking forward to more sharing on your coaching path!

    All the best,


    • November 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Hi Alison,

      Thank you for your insight and your friendship. You were positively glowing when I saw you this week. How delightful!

      Love & Light,


  4. Kathryn's Gravatar Kathryn
    November 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Happy Day after Thanksgiving Valerie. I spent part of Thanksgiving reading all of your story in depth and was just blown away. Thank you so much for this blog. I had already enjoyed the various entries about abstinence and other subjects but it was quite something to read about what you have been through. The human spirit is an amazing thing. Anyway, thanks so much for being who you are and sharing it with all of us. I am now looking into Susan Pivar, thanks to you. We shall see what happens next.
    Much Love,
    Katie from program

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